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Say the Word
Say the Word

The Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education (created by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to evaluate American higher education) has been pelted by more spitballs than the proverbial teacher's pet.

Salvos range from pea-sized-that the commission's report used the word faculty only once and ignored the role of liberal arts and sciences-to missiles, that the commission did not produce any concrete actions and failed to define what a high-quality, 21st-century higher education should look like.

The only points that detractors-and proponents (there are some)-seem to agree on is that higher education does need reform and that a lot of talking about that issue took place. Dialoguing is something academia spends a lot of time doing, Eugene Hickok, the author of one of the following two articles, has said. Hickok and Robert Zemsky, who penned the other article, were ringing the bell for higher education reform long before the Spellings Commission existed. Now in its aftermath, they offer more than just words.

Zemsky, a member of the Spellings Commission, calls for "dislodging events" to transform the cost and quality of American education. Hickok-who with Zemsky was a panelist at Higher Education After the Spellings Commission: An Assessment, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute in March-questions whether a college degree does, in fact, signify a college education.

Two perspectives-not a pro and con but perhaps one building upon the other.






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